Govt shuts 74 dispensaries

Kathmandu, May 16:

In its attempt to bring dispensaries and their practices within the purview of law, the government shut down 74 dispensaries across the country and confiscated drugs from more than 200 dispensaries.

Twenty-eight dispensaries were shut in four months after the government’s inspection team found them running without registering with the Department of Drug Administration. Similarly, branch offices of DDA closed down 46 dispensaries for the same reason between January and April.

DDA offices in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj and Birgunj warned 269 dispensaries and seized drugs after the inspection team found them being involved in irresponsible activities.

They were found displaying date expired and banned drugs on the shelves and chemists were found absent in the dispensaries. The team noticed that they were not keeping records of narcotic and psychotropic drugs, vaccines not stored in refrigerators and license not renewed.

The department recruited some staffers to speed up the act of monitoring and evaluating stores, dispensaries and manufacturing factories across the country, said a DDA official. Additional nine inspectors were also recruited, taking the number of inspectors to 18 at the central and branch offices.

“Frequent monitoring and inspection would help keep track of the activities of druggists and bring an end to impunity,” said Prakash Raj Pant, drug administrator at DDA. He said the DDA inspectors’ roles were limited to confiscating drugs and warning them, but in case of serious offenses and repeated mistakes, they would be taken to the court. “Those, who were warned, were not found indulging in mal practice again.”

Kiran Sunder Bajracharya, executive director of Nepal Pharmaceuticals’ Association, said the government’s efforts to check mal practices on the part of dispensaries and bring them under the scrutiny of law were inadequate. “Some of the stores involved in trafficking narcotic drugs were booked under the Drug Act.”

He added that druggists running the dispensaries and drug stores were not adequately trained, and were more inclined towards doing business rather than providing service.

Inspections were carried out in Nuwakot, Gulmi, Tanahun, Rupandehi, Lamjung, Gorkha, Kapilvastu and Argakhanchi.